And the band played on

Despite having to pay their own admission, alumni band members still play a happy tune at annual pregame show.
Monday, October 20, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:43 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Thirty-seven years ago, a tradition started at the Homecoming game’s pregame show: a performance by the Marching Mizzou Alumni Band.

Each October, alumni band members are invited back to participate in the annual event.

“Last year, around 200 people came to participate,” says Glenn Bussen, Marching Mizzou Alumni Band president. “We expect around that same amount this year.”

The event draws participants of all ages. Last year’s oldest performer was 64-year-old Bruce Anderson. A drum major, Anderson was in Marching Mizzou from 1957 to 1963.

“I’ve been the drum major since the Alumni Band started way back when,” Anderson says. “I like to come back to see the folks, even though only a few of them are my age.”

Trevor Mitchell will make his second apperance with the alumni band. Mitchell is still an undergraduate, but he took a semester off from school. After quitting Marching Mizzou, members become eligible to perform with the Marching Mizzou Alumni Band even if they have not graduated. Mitchell said his favorite part of joining the band was getting to perform again.

“I love performing,” Mitchell says. “There is nothing like being on the field in front of the crowd. As long as I can, I’ll come back for Homecoming.”

Hadley Haux, Marching Mizzou Alumni Band vice president, is not the only person in his family who participates in the band. Hadley’s wife, Mary, also performs. The two met while in Marching Mizzou in the late 1980s and married in 1990.

“It is a lot of work taking the entire family from St. Louis to Columbia,” Hadley says. “We have three kids, but it’s important to the both of us to participate in Homecoming.”

There is more to the Marching Mizzou Alumni Band’s role in homecoming events than Saturday’s pregame. Festivities begin Friday, and all members are invited to this year’s 11th annual Marching Mizzou Alumni Band golf tournament at L.A. Nickell Golf Course from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Afterward, the band will head to the prehomecoming picnic planned from 4 to 8 p.m.

This is the picnic’s fourth year at the Nickell Shelter at Cosmopolitan Recreation Area. After the picnic, many members gather at Harpo’s, and around 10, participate in Rally Night with Marching Mizzou. Rally Night is when Marching Mizzou goes around downtown, from bar to bar, playing traditional MU songs.

Members are encouraged to preregister for the weekend. The cost is $25 per household. Members must also purchase tickets for themselves and family members coming to the game, a change from about five years ago when members did not pay for their own or their family’s tickets.

Bill Moyes, Marching Mizzou Alumni Band treasurer, said this could affect the turnout.

“At first, the Athletic Department made our family members pay for tickets,” Moyes says. “That was bad enough. But now we have to pay. Basically we are paying to be the entertainment.”

Anderson also thinks paying to perform is unfair.

“How much are the cheerleaders charged to cheer at the football games?” Anderson says. “It’s ridiculous that we have to pay. What would the preshow entertainment be if we decided not to perform?”

But Marching Mizzou Alumni Band members will continue to perform the preshow, despite having to pay admission.

“I’ll continue to perform ‘til I can’t do it anymore,” Anderson says. “I don’t practice nearly as hard as I used to. Now I save it for the show.”

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